MemberOctober 20, 2020 at 5:08 am
StartEngine has been dropping clues about this for a while…and I just got an email inviting me to open an account for their secondary trading platform.
I’m impressed they are going live this fast. I know there were some tweaks and rules guidance out of the SEC recently around this but I’m surprised to see the players respond so quickly.
As far as I can tell this is structured like just another ATS and they are a standard broker-dealer, which would imply we can move funds in and out at will (no holding period). With a new (and early) exit option I think this is going to be huge for CF/A+ investors and platforms generally.
AdministratorOctober 26, 2020 at 9:31 am
Agreed – I think this is a big first step and will be very interested to see how it all plays out.
Netcapital has had a live secondary transfer platform for a few years, and I’ve done a number of transactions on that (mostly purchasing additional shares at discounted prices).
Increased liquidity is generally a good thing, and I think it’s great to at least give investors the option to sell their shares should they really need the money for whatever reason.
However, a part of me does worry that secondary markets will be taking away one of the inherent advantages of startup investing, which is the fact that they are illiquid investments and so investors generally didn’t have the option to sell in the past. I’m thinking of the numerous examples of startups who may have had decent gains (say 5X-10X), and perhaps reached tougher times – just thinking for myself, I might not have had the nerve to hold on to some of those investments after a decent gain, although as we know with power law returns, it’s really the 100X-1000X+ investments that will make all the difference.
And so I do worry a little that investors might be tempted to take smaller gains off the table, hurting their longer-term investment portfolio potential.
As such, I personally plan to use the secondary platform primarily as a way of looking at deals that I am already invested in (or perhaps missed) and buying additional shares, rather than using it as an early-exit option.
I think the market inefficiencies will be significant at the start, so I’d expect wide bid-ask spreads.
Also, while Reg A+ shares will be freely tradeable, Reg CF shares are still restricted by a 1-year lock-up where investors can only sell Reg CF shares either to accredited investors or other qualifying entities (e.g. back to the issuer).
Long story short, I think this is a great first step and I’m excited to see where it leads.
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